from toast to post: vintage toast rack letter holders

for as long as i can remember my mom has used an antique toast holder to organize her mail, bills, and to-do lists. i always thought it was such an interesting way to organize things, and it wasn’t until a few years ago that i came to really appreciate the idea, and the way she is always incorporating antique objects into our home in unexpected ways.

it seems like every magazine i’ve picked up over the past year has been using antique toast racks to organize mail so last week i finally decided to splurge on my own toast rack (top image) to use on my tiny entry room table. [image above via vintageindie]

after searching for days online, i was overwhelmed with the prices i was seeing ($200+) and decided that i had no choice but to ebay-it. i was pleasantly surprised to find some really interesting options available (including some interesting porcelain styles) in a wide range of prices, starting at a very budget-friendly $10. i ended up paying a bit more than that for mine, but as soon as it arrived from california in its tiny box (i ended up buying a small one that measures 3×4 inches) i was flooded with happy, comforting memories of sitting in our kitchen and watching my mom write letters and place them in her toast rack to mail. and now, when i trudge up 4 flights on a hot summer day, arms full of mail, i’m cheerfully greeted by my sweet clover-shaped toast rack, ready to organize the day’s letters. [image above via eddie ross]

  1. SparkerShop says:

    Lovely choice! I use one just like this and I love it. It’s the little details that make a home unique and fun to come home too.

    I have a deep brown pottery version in my shop right now – I had never seen one like it before!

  2. sk says:

    I bought two on ebay a couple of years ago — the larger toast rack holds my mail, and the smaller one holds on to business cards I want to keep on hand. I still think that it’s just the most darling idea.

  3. So lovely & a nice way to remember your childhood home. :) I’d love to see more ideas like this. I have a closet full of antique china & whatnot… wondering what to do with it all…

  4. love this too–could you tell us what the gorgeous pottery in your top photo is?
    beautiful photos.

    1. grace says:


      sure thing! those are ceramic pieces from the john derian shop, by this company:


  5. abby says:

    what a great idea, i love how these look.

  6. Lara says:

    What is the typeface on the yellow letter shown on the first picture? If it is hand lettered, who was the calligrapher?

    1. grace says:


      it’s a note from betsy dunlap, she’s a fantastic hand-letterer


  7. And the butter knives can become letter openers…

  8. Teri says:

    Oh cute!

  9. have always loved this idea + have been looking for ages but hadn’t thought of ebay — the one you chose is lovely! your hallway is looking great.

  10. Shanon says:

    I always put off buying a letter holder… so many ugly ones out there. THIS idea is great! I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled. =)

  11. Michela says:

    I love toast, so I jumped on a vintage silverplate toast caddy at an estate sale last summer. I put all my finds down in the foyer when I got home and the toast caddy never left. It practically begged to be used for mail.

  12. Julia says:

    I also love toast holders. Since they are completely redundant for toast, i try to find other uses, such as a napkin holder, letter holder, postcard holder, recent photo holder, etc. Always quaint.

  13. Carrie says:

    Huh. My mom does this. It never occurred to me to be any sort of trend or clever way of organizing. Hm.

  14. thanks for the reply about the pottery–
    beautiful website there also!

  15. hmmmm…..heading to ETSY/EBAY and every other vintage dealer I know to find one.

  16. megan says:

    i LOVE this idea and may have to copy, since i’m pretty sick of my current letter holder. thanks for the inspiration, grace!

  17. Katie (Australia) says:

    This is something my mum always did and now I use her silver toast/letter rack the same :)

  18. Martha says:

    Mine was about a quarter at a thrift store. $200? For real?! I am using mine to amplify my radio signal (there is a wire from the radio attached.)… it works!

  19. Vikki says:

    YES!! I have backpacked around the UK for years, I stop at every jumble sale and fete I find. I have collected several of these and have always wanted to be able to use them. I am a crappy toast maker NOW I can show them off!! My favorite is one I got 15 years ago for 50p – solid silver, very simple, I brought it back stuffed with a ceramic hedgehog full of Cotswold honey and all of my knickers so it wouldn’t dent the prints or get flattened by the brasses & books. Customs thought it was hysterical!

  20. Sarah says:

    I have done this forever, using an antique toast holder that was my great grandmother’s. It’s funny that it is now kind of a trend!

  21. EBrown says:

    Ah, yes, toast racks: designed for the express purpose of making your toast cold and inedible.

  22. Dee Roberts says:

    Can anyone help me?? I have an old ornamental letter holder black with Greek design, outlined in 24ct gold.. The underneath inscription says “Special FINTIAS hand made in Greece in 24ct gold”…. it is shaped like a small fan (blocked) and has a stem with a base… it measures 4.5″ high x 6.2″ spread at bottom of fan shape x 1.5” opening for letters…. HELP!!!!!!!!


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